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Immigrants' Daughter Defeats Ebola; Nigeria Safe Without Travel Ban. By Roger Algase

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Update, October 27, 8:22 pm:

The 5-year old boy being held in isolation at Bellevue Hospital in New York after showing Ebola-like symptoms has tested negative for the disease, according to The Guardian. He will undergo further tests before being released. There is still no report on his nationality, but since his home is in New York, it is probably safe to assume that he is an American. If he were not a USC, one can assume that this fact would be all over the Internet and that certain of our political leaders and pundits would be losing no time in scapegoating all immigrants over this latest turn of events.

Update, October 27, 9:00 am:

According to Reuters and ABC News, a 5-year old boy who returned to the US on Saturday from Guinea with his family is now under observation and in isolation at Bellevue hospital after showing possible symptoms of Ebola, including a 103 degree fever and vomiting. For some inexplicable reason, he has evidently not yet been tested for Ebola and is not under quarantine pending such tests.

His immigration status has not been mentioned in any news reports I have seen. However, since his home is evidently in New York, he may very likely be a US citizen or permanent resident.

If this turns out to be the case, that would be only one more example to show that treating Ebola as an immigration issue, rather than a medical one, is not the way to protect America from this deadly disease. I will update this story as more information becomes available.

My original post follows:

Everyone in America congratulates the two heroic Dallas nurses, Nina Pham and Amber Vinson, on their recovery from Ebola, which they had contracted while caring for the first and hopefully only Ebola patient to die of this disease in America, Liberian citizen Thomas Eric Duncan.

The Dallas Morning News reports on October 24 and October 25 that Nina Pham, the daughter of Vietnamese immigrants who came to America as political refugees, is now back in Texas and able to meet with her dog, Bently, who tested negative for Ebola after being isolated and screened.

Before arriving in Dallas, Nina Pham had met with and received a big hug from President Obama. I watched it on a video, which at one point also appears to show Ms. Pham smoking a cigarette, an activity that has taken thousands of times as many lives as Ebola.

One hopes that having survived Ebola, Nina Pham will continue to safeguard her health in all other respects as well.

In another story, Fortune reports on the steps that Nigeria, a country which has now been officially pronounced clear of Ebola, took to protect itself against the disease, which had claimed eight lives in West Africa's most populous nation. Closing its borders was not among those steps.

The Fortune article listed the following steps that Nigeria had taken to become Ebola free after 20 people in that country had become infected:

Preparing early; Declaring an emergency right away; Training local doctors, Managing fear, Remaining prepared for more patients, and Advocating for more international response.

In addition, Nigeria kept its borders open and did not ban all travel from Ebola infected countries, as some American leaders are urging the US government to do despite warnings from health officials that this would be counterproductive.

Nigeria's decision not to ban all travel from Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone was based, according to the Fortune article (also published in Time) on the conclusion that such a travel ban would create more fear and panic, and potentially drive people to come into the country illegally, instead of through legal checkpoints. A Nigerian spokesman mentioned in the article stated that the best way to control an outbreak is through implementing public health strategies, not by closing borders, which would only stifle commercial activities in the countries that are already struggling due to Ebola.

In the light of Nigeria's experience, one has to ask whether certain public figures in the US who are using Ebola to promote an anti-immigrant agenda rather than following the advice of health experts are really concerned with protecting the American people as much as they are with advancing their own careers.

Moreover, the rush in four states, New York, New Jersey, Illinois and, reportedly, either Connecticut or Florida, against the advice of America's top medical officials, to impose 21-day quarantines on US citizen health care workers returning from the three most affected African countries, after an American doctor, Craig Spencer, was diagnosed with Ebola after helping to take care of patients in that area and is now hospitalized in New York City, shows that this deadly virus does not recognize distinctions based on immigration status.

See also,, Ebola's Hard Lesson: Africa's vulnerabilities are our own (October 26).
Roger Algase is a New York lawyer and graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He has been serving employment-based and family-based immigration clients from many parts of the world for more than 30-years. His email address is

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Updated 10-27-2014 at 07:22 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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  1. Someone12's Avatar
    This comment has been deleted. See below.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law.
    Updated 10-26-2014 at 12:06 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs (Deleting the writer's false, personally abusive and off topic comment.)
  2. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    I have deleted the above comment by Someone12 because it contained patently false, personally abusive and defamatory statements and was only marginally relevant to the topic.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    Updated 10-26-2014 at 10:31 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  3. federale86's Avatar
    Many other African countries have instituted travel bans. So much for claims of racism or ineffectiveness.
  4. Someone12's Avatar
    I have deleted this comment, as it is completely irrelevant to the topic of my post. While all opinions are welcome on this site, it is intended for serious discussion and comment, not personal abuse.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    Updated 10-26-2014 at 07:34 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  5. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    With regard to federale86's comment, the decision whether or not a blanket travel ban should be imposed (or quarantine, as in the case of action taken by the governors of NY, NJ, IL, and, reportedly, CT, with regard to American medical personnel returning from the affected countries) should be based entirely on medical considerations, not political ones.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    Updated 10-26-2014 at 07:33 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  6. Someone12's Avatar
    When the truth hurts......odd that ole Rog posted..'while all opinions are welcome on this site...."...except of course, those that reveal what immigration attorneys are really up to....odd how the First Amendment is trashed by wimpy mods and equally wimpy attorneys....
  7. Someone12's Avatar
    Entrance to the US should be based on LEGAL considerations, instead of rewarding those who have thumbed their noses at our laws and borders....gee Rog...what about this concept? Or is this too much for you to bear? LEGAL = according to LAW....not according to Rog.
  8. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    Someone12 does not seem to be interested in discussing the point of my post, which is about the extent to which there should be travel/quarantine restrictions on US citizens or legal immigrants as a public health measure.

    My post has nothing to do with illegal immigrants. All of the medical personnel who were infected with Ebola mentioned in my comment are American citizens.

    The Liberian citizen who died in the US came here with a legal visa, even though there is a question that has never been answered as to whether he knew he had been exposed to Ebola when he came to the US.

    I will continue to delete comments by Someone12 or anyone else which do not relate to the topic or consist mainly of rants that have no basis in fact against immigrants in general or the lawyers who represent them.

    This has nothing to do with the First Amendment. There are thousands of other sites which are open to irrelevant or abusive comments about immigration or any other topic. Someone12 is perfectly free to say whatever he wishes on any of those.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    Updated 10-27-2014 at 03:07 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  9. Someone12's Avatar
    when did the First Amendment expire on this site?
    The issue of people arriving with visas from countries that have or may have contact with Ebola victims is of concern to many of us...especially when they are aiming to arrive here for free treatment with total disregard for the health and well-being of for Amcits/LPRs, I would like to believe that they are responsible enough to report their possible contact with Ebola victims. I am not convinced that the average B2 visa holder would be as responsible.
    People who show up with fake visas, passports, etc, and who have been in contact with Ebola in some form, or left a country in which there is a strong possibility they had such contact, should be severely isolated and the US taxpayers should not be paying for huge hospital bills thanks to some fraudster seeking such free care....
  10. Someone12's Avatar
    It's comforting to know that ole Rog is our Censor-in-Chief....
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